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Close Encounter of the Lloyd Kind

Every year the Greek Community has a semester long fund raising program inaccurately called "Greek Week." On Wednesday night, representatives of the charities receiving the funds address everyone in the Greek system at Rackham auditorium. One of the annual charities is the Lloyd Carr Cancer Foundation. To speak on behalf of the fund, Lloyd Carr has spoken 3 out of the past 4 years.

I was lucky to sit up front by the speaker staging area, and from watching him before and during his speech, I reaffirmed my strictly idealistic man-crush on Lloyd Carr.

Before his speech as people were filing in, I saw Carr walk up and begin talking to the spokesman for one of the charities. This kid is in a wheel chair, and couldn't even make it on stage to give his speech. Lloyd without an SID or handler telling him, talked with this kid for about 5 minutes. After his speech, the host of the event told the audience that Lloyd had also promised him and his family tickets to a Michigan game this year.

His speech was vintage Lloyd Carr. I could just imagine his note card for the event:
  1. Reminisce about own Greek experience
  2. Awkward anecdote about leadership
  3. Talk about football
It is important to note that transitions between topics are not allowed. The awkward anecdote involved Ernest Shackleton where he compared Michigan students to Antarctic explorers. The football talk was about his love of the NW corner of Michigan Stadium.
If we ever need to get a score late in the game, or get an important stop, I always hope it's in the North End.

He was asked after he left the stage to say a few words about Bo (Bo's charity fund was the next charity to speak), so he awkwardly went back up on stage and took the mic away from the emcee and told the story of his first interview with Bo, which included road rage, the Pretzel Hut and suspending players. I'm putting this in a quote, but I'm paraphrasing here:
For my first interview for a job at Michigan I flew in on a Monday. I walked into Bo's office, and there were a couple assistant coaches in there. We went out to the Pretzel Hut, which was a fine Ann Arbor establishment to go for lunch and a beer.

So after we left the Pretzel Hut, we headed to get the car in the parking structure. Bo was driving, and he pulled out and before he could even get the transmission into drive, a car that had been coming up slammed on his horn, and I mean really slammed. He wanted Bo to know he had pulled out in front of him.

Well, Bo wasn't in a good mood, he had to suspend some players earlier that day which never makes any coach feel good, so instead of putting the car in drive and going on his way, he leaves the car in reverse and slams into the guy.

I was thinking to myself 'this is one hell of an interview,' when the guy behind us honked again! So, Bo did the only thing he could do, and slammed into the guy again.

The obvious question this brings up is how big of a deal was drunk driving back in 1981.

I really think this type of thing is what makes a college football coach. Lloyd Carr, despite being a grumbling curmudgeon with the press, is open and compassionate with students and fans. Sure success on the field is in important (and Lloyd has had success with a .758 winning % and 5 Big Ten Titles), but if that was it, coaches would just be hired guns like they are in the NFL (or Alabama).

Lloyd Carr is the definition of a Michigan time, and I was really surprised and impressed that the day Michigan jumped to the lead of the Fulmer Cup, he was there in front of students and being a part of campus. Hopefully for Lloyd, he can win a (Mythical) National Championship and ride into the sunset with a legacy appropriate for such a good coach and such a great man.

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“Close Encounter of the Lloyd Kind”

  1. Blogger Jeremy Says:

    He told that exact same anecdote at Bo's memorial service in the Big House. It is hilarious.